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Lawyer says ousted Egyptian leader may have cancer

CAIRO — Ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak may have cancer, his defense lawyer said Monday, citing “evidence suggesting” the 83-year-old is sick with stomach cancer.

Mubarak, who was ousted on Feb. 11 by an 18-day popular uprising, has been hospitalized with heart troubles since April in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. He is scheduled to face trial on Aug. 3 over allegations he ordered the killing of protesters during the mass demonstrations against his regime. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death.

Mubarak’s lawyer, Farid el-Deeb, also told The Associated Press that Mubarak underwent “critical surgery” in Germany last year, during which his gallbladder and part of his pancreas were removed.

El-Deeb said he has asked Egypt’s prosecutor general to allow the German surgeon to visit Mubarak for a medical check up. He said the prosecutor general referred the request to the military council, which took over power after Mubarak’s ouster. No decision has been made yet.

Mubarak’s prosecution has been complicated by concerns over his health. The ex-leader has been questioned in the hospital, but an order from prosecutors to transfer him to a Cairo prison during the investigation was overturned on the grounds that the health facilities there were not sufficient to treat Mubarak’s ailments.

Even the location of the former president’s trial remains unclear after a May report by a government-appointed panel of physicians determined that he is too ill to be jailed in prison while awaiting his appearance in court.

At least 846 protesters were killed during the 18-day revolt, which brought an end to Mubarak’s 29-year rule.

The charges against Mubarak assert he conspired with the former security chief and other senior police officers — already on trial in a criminal court — “to commit premeditated murder, along with attempted murder of those who participated in the peaceful protests around Egypt.”

The charges said Mubarak and the other officials were involved in “inciting some policemen and officers to shoot the victims, running some of them over to kill them, and terrorizing others.”

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